On Saturday the Premier League published the amount of money that Premier League clubs paid to agents from the period 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2012.
The staggering total sum was over £77 million. This may have made depressing reading for the average football fan who is unable to afford to go and support their team considering the already over inflated ticket prices in England.
Recent weeks have seen a steady decline in attendances around the country. In times of austerity and with Christmas looming on the horizon this is perhaps no real surprise, but why then do Premier League clubs deem it ok to spend vast amounts of money on something they could surely do themselves?
Every footballer has the right to representation from an agent as they absolutely should have, and more often than not, do. Shouldn’t, however, the player be footing the bill for this right? The fact that football clubs are paying agents to effectively negotiate against them seems ludicrous.
Football as we know is a business. Don’t football clubs employ people such as Chief Executives, Technical Directors, Commercial Directors and an array of lavish job titles, all of whom are entirely capable of negotiating transfers with players and clubs alike?
Is this money better spent elsewhere? After all, this is money generated by football, yet it is leaving the game for what seems like no apparent reason.
Unsurprisingly Manchester City were the worst offenders. They racked up a whopping £10.5 million in agents fees. While this may be a drop in the ocean for someone like Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, what is perhaps even more disconcerting, is the situation Everton find themselves in.
Everton owner Bill Kenwrigtht has been repeatedly outspoken about the need for Everton to find new investors. Speaking of the financial constraints his manager David Moyes has often found himself working within, he told a National Newspaper in March “The one thing he (Moyes) does know is he gets every single brass farthing available and he does know no-one takes any money out of this club. But at the end of the day I have to find a new owner.”
Why then can Everton spend more than £3 million on agent fees when they can barely afford to spend that on an actual player? Wouldn’t this money be better off spent strengthening a squad with Champions League ambitions?
Other big spenders were Liverpool and Premier League strugglers QPR who spent £8.6 million and £6.8 million respectively.
Newly promoted Southampton spent by far the least on agent’s fees in that period, a total of just £646,106. Having spent more than £30million in transfer fees it would seem that they are doing something different to the other 19 clubs.
This is not a new problem. Agents have taken money out of the game for years. Is it now time that the Premier League did something about it? Footballers will always need agents. They clearly serve an important purpose for the individuals. Should, however, the clubs themselves be putting money directly in to the pockets of agents that could be better spent elsewhere?
TOTAL FIGURES FROM PREMIERLEAGUE.COM FOR THE PERIOD 1 OCTOBER 2011 TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2012
Aston Villa £2,730,539;
Manchester City £10,537,982;
Manchester United £3,681,580;
Newcastle United £3,485,503;
Norwich City £1,248,725;
Queens Park Rangers £6,818,688;
Stoke City £1,717,266;
Swansea City £1,100,845;
Tottenham Hotspur £6,595,905;
West Bromwich Albion £1,341,301;
West Ham United £4,436,992;
Wigan Athletic £1,974,305.